The mind works in mysterious ways

I’m currently working on my Master’s thesis for ViCCA/Aalto University, it deals with road movies to some extent, obviously with related reading, writing, watching and filming on the to do list…

The other day, taking the usual procrastinatory detour, I checked some news headlines and learned that Malcolm Young had passed away. (Well, sir, have a fine and restful journey onward and thanks for laying the major cornerstones for hard & heavy rock with the juggernaut called AC/DC.)

While finding my way back from the data swamp to actual tasks at hand, I again remembered a film I had partially seen way back but didn’t know the name or any details about it. Call it obsessive or whatever, but I often get these little flashbacks from films that I’ve forgotten about; not knowing what films they are or how to successfully find info on them is somewhat frustrating, and they keep haunting me.

Anyways, this particular flick, or at least the parts I remember, deals with highways in the American desert and a sort of demon cop driving a police car in pursuit of someone or something. Well, cars, highways and the desert relate to my thesis, so I thought why not try to check out again if I managed to find it this time around. Googling for demon cop, police car, desert, highway etc. and wow, this time I actually get what I was looking for!

So it seems the film is Highway to Hell! Synchronicity, coincidence, whatever you want to call it, but I’m certain the news about mr. Young triggered a chain of events in the subconscious mind.

The AC/DC classic is featured on the film trailer as well…

Looking forward to watching this undoubtedly fine piece of early 1990’s B-grade horror cheese, all of it this time around. (Well, shot 1989 but first released 1991 to be exact.)

Facing the Shadow

Frame grab from a work in progress © Niko Skorpio

“In the aftermath of the carnage of World War I, a number of avant-garde thinkers and artists realized that the modern experiment had taken a serious wrong turn. The arrogant belief system of scientific progress and materialism seemed to be a cover for something deeply irrational and dangerous – what Carl Jung called the “shadow”, representing the suppressed and repressed contents of the psyche. Poets and philosophers realized that the modern alienation from nature and the cosmos had reached such a state that it literally threatened to tear the world to shreds. Despite its faith in science and progress, modern humanity, as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche realized in the nineteenth century, continued to live mythologically, influenced by unknown cosmic powers, shaken by periodic paroxysms whose origins were outside the circumscribed scope of the scientific worldview.

“When quantum physicists peeled away layer after layer of the material universe, they found that matter was made up mostly of empty space and energetic frequency, and that far from an objective reality that was actually “out there”, the nature of reality was participatory and subjective. The model of an empirical science capable of separating object from subject, matter from consciousness, turned out to be, in itself, a myth that the modern world had created. Time and space were not linear and straight but relative and curved. As the myth of objectivity collapsed, the modern world faced an abyss of relativism, which various ideologies, ranging from fascism to fundamentalism, made desperate attempts to overcome through brute force of propaganda.

“At the same time, anthropologists found that cultures aroud the world maintained practices of initiation. Indigenous people preserved a process of separation and vision quest, in which the direct experience of altered states of consciousness brought the adolescent out of egocentrism. Through a direct encounter with the Anima mundi, the soul of the world, the initiatory ordeal compelled an acceptance of sacred time and adult responsibility. Initiation dignified the individual by giving him status as a self-reliant member of the tribe and a keeper of its secrets. It soon became apparent that the only world culture that had marginalized and rejected such initiatory practices was the modern West. The consequences of this rejection, and consequent soul loss, remain severe.”

Daniel Pinchbeck, “Embracing the Archaic: Postmodern Culture and Psychedelic Initiation.” in David S. Rubin (ed.), Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s. (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2010), 50-51.